Public sector must tackle the causes of absence

The government must be disappointed that its efforts in reducing public sector sickness absence are not rewarded with better results (, 17 July). However, there are several problems associated with dealing with stress-related issues in the workplace.

First, organisations place a heavy emphasis on having the right processes, procedures and systems in place. But they can only take you so far. Managing sickness and absence is not the same as improving employee wellbeing.

Also, there is often a stigma associated with stress-related illness. Stressed individuals are labelled because they can’t handle pressure. Stressful organisations are stained because they are viewed as too demanding and uncaring. So a conspiracy of silence can be created.

Finally, many organisations only pay lip service to the whole idea of wellbeing, yet this is something that research and experience shows helps productivity, profitability as well as job satisfaction.

To borrow a phrase, organisations need not only to tackle stress, but also to tackle the causes of stress. If the public sector does not do this, the results will be the same again next year.

Binna Kandola
Senior partner
Pearn Kandola

Comments are closed.